Jacinda Ardern’s Maternity Leave is a Milestone

When Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, gave birth last week, she became only the second elected world leader to do so while in office—and the first to take maternity leave.

Benazir Bhutto, the late former Prime Minister of Pakistan, became the first elected official to give birth in office in 1990. Ardern’s daughter was born on what would have been Bhutto’s 65th birthday.

“Welcome to our village, wee one,” Ardern posted on Instagram after the delivery.

Ardern is the youngest prime minister in New Zealand in over a century. She announced she was having a child in January, and became a symbol for working mothers everywhere who didn’t want to chose between motherhood and leadership positions. “I am not the first woman to multitask,” she told Radio New Zealand. “I am not the first woman to work and have a baby.” In a post on Instagram in January, Ardern wrote that the couple would be “joining the many parents out there who wear two hats.”

The new mom plans to take six weeks of maternity leave—and then her partner, Clarke Gayford, will take care of their daughter full-time. While on leave, her deputy prime minister Winston Peters will be taking on her duties, though she plans to keep reading cabinet papers and converse with Peters on pressing issues.


Amy DePoy is a student at Yale University and a former editorial intern at Ms. She loves feminism, reading and writing. She also loves all fruits, but especially strawberries.